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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

If you can't catch your own fireflies, this gadget might suffice



e90c_electronic_firefly_grass.jpgSummer is half over already and once again, I haven't been able to catch any fireflies. I always have loved fireflies (some people call them lightning bugs) and have fond, childhood memories of chasing them through fields at dusk and studying them on the end of my finger and from the outside of Miracle Whip jar. Remember that song? Happiness is...

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream...
Knowing a secret...
Climbing a tree.
Happiness is five dif'rent crayons...
Catching a firefly...
Setting him free.

(Lyrics by Lea Salonga)

Although I had many firefly encounters as a child in Indiana and Michigan, firefly sightings since moving to Tampa Bay in 1968 have been a rare thing, at least in the heavily populated areas. About a month ago I spotted one in our yard in Tampa and couldn't bring myself to catch it, hoping if I let it go it would return with friends for a larger luciferase enzyme show. So far, none have returned but recently I found a solution that may be the next best thing.

Would you believe it if I told you there is a gadget available that simulates a firefly in a jar? The folks at ThinkGeek, known for innovative gadgets and all kinds of awesome stuff, now have an Electronic Firefly in a Jar. I haven't seen one in person yet but from the video, it looks very real. Check it out:

Now I know having a battery-operated firefly is not the same as having the real thing, but it does have it's advantages. It pretty much looks the same but you don't have to trap and potentially harm one of the peaceful bugs to experience the effect. You can use it over and over again as it runs on 3 AAA batteries, and the firefly even reacts to sounds and taps on the glass, just like a real one would.

I think everyone should experience a field full of real fireflies once in their life. While you're waiting, or during the times in between, this gadget is a pretty close second to the magic of those little bugs.

[Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 12:09pm]


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